We are deeply saddened by the loss of Peter Samson, leader of the Katie Samson Festival and Foundation. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Samson family.
If you would like to reach out or send condolences, please feel free to email us, KSFLacrosseFest@gmail.com
Peter Samson passed away on August 17 in a tragic cycling accident in Little Compton, RI. Peter is one of five brothers born in Princeton, NJ to Hugh and Edith Samson. He is preceded in death by his parents and oldest brother, Blake Samson.
Peter is a graduate of Phillips Academy/Andover (1969) and received his B. A. from University of Pennsylvania (1973) while playing both Division I Ice Hockey and Lacrosse. He went on to earn a J.D. from New England School of Law (1976) where he served as the Managing Editor of the New England Law Review.
Peter enjoyed a successful career as an attorney, spanning over four decades with several highly respected law firms; with a lengthy partnership at White and Williams, LLP and finishing of counsel with Cipriani and Warner. His practice focused on medical malpractice and defending universities in a variety of litigation and education law matters, after starting as an attorney in the Philadelphia Public Defenders’ Office. Peter taught trial practice and litigation skills extensively for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Pennsylvania Defense Institute and the Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel, of which he is a past President. He chaired the Hearing Committee for the Disciplinary Board of Pennsylvania for nine years and served as an Adjunct Professor for Temple University Law School. He was selected in a survey of his peers as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer by Law and Politics Magazine for 2004-2006-2015, and was recognized as a Top-Rated Lawyer in Healthcare base on a rating by Martindale-Hubbell.
Since the early 1990's, Peter's name has virtually been synonymous with Radnor Youth Lacrosse; a program he founded and led for over 20 years. He was a legendary youth lacrosse coach and mentor, inducted into the Eastern PA Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2017. The first-class program that he started from his garage, has produced players who have gone on to compete for Radnor High School, the top prep schools in Pennsylvania and many of the best college teams in the country. Legions of current and former lacrosse players often mention "Coach Samson" as having major impact in their lives. The recent Phillylacrosse.com article highlights further accomplishments including “his dedication to the Katie Samson Festival and Foundation (KSF), which was created to raise money for spinal cord research and quality of life programs for those with disabilities. The Festival, which will be 20 years old next April, has long been the single largest one-day high school event in the country (27 games) and has helped raise over $2 million since its inception in 2001.”
Peter was also involved in numerous charitable endeavors, serving as the Magee representative for the Thomas Jefferson University Board, Board Member of Magee Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, Philadelphia Lacrosse Association, Katie Samson Lacrosse Foundation, and Wayne Presbyterian Church.
Peter loved spending summers with his family in the coastal town of Westport, MA, and enjoying winter ski trips to Mad River Glen in Waitsfield, VT; a Samson family stronghold. For all he gave to the community, he provided so much for his family. He had just retired and was looking forward to spending more time with his family as well as wood working projects, golf and traveling for cycling and football watching.
He will be remembered for his endless conversations with his dogs, his trademark rendition of "Surfer Bird' by the Trashmen, double knee drops, love of Motown music; his uncontrollable cackling laugh, his enthusiasm for Eagles football, and the ability to fall fast asleep in a noisy room with a spy novel on his lap. Most of all, we will remember Peter for his affection for people and zest for life. If you knew him well (as many do) he poked innocent fun every chance he got and was happy to receive the same treatment.
Peter is survived by his loving wife of 26 years, Lynne Coughlin Samson, his children David (43) (wife Kate), Brian (41) (wife Gyll), Katie (39), Molly (25), and his first wife, Banny Ackerman; and his brothers Charles, Hugh and David. He was also a doting "grandpa" and “tickle monster” to his four grandchildren; Beatrice, Sebastien, Clare and Grace.
A celebration of Peter’s life will be held at Wayne Presbyterian Church, 125 E Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, PA on Friday, August 30 at 11 a.m. with a reception to follow at St. David’s Golf Club, 845 Radnor Street Road, Wayne, Pennsylvania. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Peter’s honor to the following organizations: Magee Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, 1513 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (https://mageerehab.org/get-involved/fundraising-events/), or, Radnor High School Scholarship Fund, PO Box 8244, Radnor, PA 19087 (www.radnorscholarshipfund.com) will be appreciated.
Comments on Peter Samson from the Philly Lacrosse Community
“Peter was a force of nature that made so many great things happen for the town of Radnor whether it was on or off the field. His passion, his caring for everybody and his wanting to help everybody was so clear. Had a great wit that kept you on your toes at all times. Without a doubt he is the foundation of Radnor Lacrosse. He put that in place and the success the teams have had at the youth level, the township level and the high school all come back to his hard work and dedication. He put the town on the map in the lacrosse world. Beyond that he was a great coach and mentor, he was an awesome person to be living in this community. He had a great year; he led the A1 team to the championship and was as important as anyone on the coaching staff at Radnor for our success.” – Radnor boys’ head coach John Begier
“He is just beloved; nobody in the lacrosse community has this stature. He is an icon – more than that, a legend. He used to talk about the legends, and here he was legend in the making. What an unfortunate situation with Katie and yet and incredible transformation that he affected through her injury… how many people has he touched? It’s hard to fathom.” – Scott Growney, president emeritus of the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter/Philadelphia Lacrosse Association and Eastern PA Hall of Famer
“Peter was a terrific civil trial lawyer with a loyal client following. He was also an accomplished skier who make navigating steep moguls look effortless. He passed these skills (along with his lacrosse knowledge) on to his children: David, Brian, Katie and Molly. Peter’s generous heart made him a frequent participant in charity fundraisers. I last saw him a few weeks ago at a benefit for Magee’s wheelchair tennis program. Peter’s loss will be felt by many, but hopefully our grief will be tempered by gratitude for the many ways that Peter enriched our lives.” – Longtime friend Tom Hurd
“All of our kids knew him. When John (Begier) said Peter was joining the staff we knew he would have an impact on all of these kids. The kids were so excited to have him. Peter was there every day and had such an impact with every kid we coached – that’s what made the year so good. And he is the heart and soul of (The Katie Samson Festival). Peter has made sure that it has gone off every year (9) I have been there. He is such a force; we call him the Godfather of Radnor lacrosse. What a great person.” – Radnor Athletic Director and assistant boys’ lacrosse coach Mike Friel
“I was always in awe of Peter’s work for the lacrosse community and the KSF – I met Peter about 18 years ago through our connections with Shipley and his family and I was always inspired to do more for his cause. Every year Shipley was a part of the KSF we always looked forward to that day with our student-athletes as a day to teach our students and learn from Peter’s words of encouragement before our games. He always found a moment to talk to our Shipley squad and wish them well and thank them for playing. We are all in shock and our thoughts are with his family.” – Shipley boys’ coach Mark Duncan
“He has been a pillar of Radnor Youth Lacrosse. He was a selfless individual who had concern for for each and every kid in the program. He was an advocate for the underdog; he was so positive and brought the lacrosse community together. He turned a negative situation with his daughter into a positive influence for more lacrosse players outside of Radnor. It’s who he is. He was the guy there scheduling, getting goals, stringing goals, doing the stuff behind the scenes that no one knows.” – Dennis Goldstein, Radnor Youth Lacrosse coach (just received the Peter Samson Award 2 weeks ago)
“Just learning of the tragic passing of Peter Samson and we are heartbroken. We are at a complete lack of words. Mr. Samson was such a very special person and over the years we shared many wonderful conversations. He always held us in the highest regards and vice versa. Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers are with the Samson and Radnor families. Mr. S, you made everyone you met smile, you made everyone around you better, you gave so much of yourself to others. You devoted your life for the betterment of so many. Our community was enhanced because you were a part of it. Thank you for everything you gave to us all. Much love and respect Mr. S. You will be deeply missed.” – Pat Colleluori, CMO at HEADstrong Foundation
“He was a pillar of the lacrosse community, a towering figure who impacted hundreds, if not thousands, of young lacrosse players. It is a monumental loss to all of us.” – Bob Mongeluzzi, longtime coach and fellow attorney
US Lacrosse Magazine (click here for article)